Diary Update (11th-25th March 2013)

So here we are approaching spring and I would like to update the previous blog in order for you to see how the areas I altered recently (See Diary Update 15th-29th Oct 2012) have changed.

Poly-tunnel

Over the last 5 months I have taken significant advantage of the poly-tunnel (and glass house) having the extra space undercover to order in plants as small modules from a trade supplier called Barrett’s Bridge Nursery in Cambridgeshire. It is possible to pick up all manner of perennials as plug plants however I focused on gathering for specific areas in the garden that need improvement long term such as the waterfall, the cut flower garden and other various borders which require plants ‘en masse’.

PT

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Plants I have grown on from plugs for the cut flower garden include Monarda didyma, Anchusa azuruea, Verbena bonariensis, Delphinium (3 varieties), Digitalis and Helenium (2 varieties). Plants for the waterfall include more low growing plant cover such as Phlox, Dianthus, Delosperma (2 varieties), Wahlenberia albomarginata and Iberis sempervirens ‘Snowflake’.  I have also grown Primula polyantha ‘Victoriana Gold Lace’ to add colour in early spring to the pillar garden and I am also growing an abundance of climbing plants such as Lathyrus latifolium (3 varieties) and Passiflora (3 varieties), to benefit areas where trellis needs covering throughout.

As a self-employed gardener it is important for me to be able to create a visual experience to my client in order to receive extra funds to be able to purchase plants and a great way to do this is by using a social media site called Pinterest. When you become a member (free) you can ‘pin’ any online picture to your own picture boards and then share the link with your client. Here is a link to my Pinterest page which my client has access to at any time allowing him the opportunity to see what the future holds for his garden. (TheLoneGardener) 

During March to September the poly-tunnel will be transformed again to house tomatoes, cucumbers, salad leaves, lettuces and peppers and for the long term we have under cover strawberries, peaches and nectarines. I am also growing carnations permanently in here so as to extend the cut flower season in order to supply cut flowers to the house and it also offers me more space to store tender plants that would normally be in the garden in the growing season.

Wall Garden

Most recently we have continued to aerate the soil adding more organic matter to the border where necessary and have now covered the entire area with a bark mulch in order to suppress weeds and also retain moisture to prevent the soil from drying out.

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The Heuchera have been a great investment offering an abundance of colour throughout the winter when other plants have been cut back. I have also reluctantly included two 2m tall Salix babylonica to close a space between the conifers which as it was a request from my client I felt obliged to carry out although I advised that these trees require a lot of water and with the conifers in such close proximity might struggle to perform to their best. We have also had recent issues with willow anthracnose which affects the look of the tree’s leaves however sometimes we have to accept a client’s wishes irrespective of advising against it.

Heather Hill  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA From the pictures we can see what this area looked like prior to October 2012 and determine that the slope is too high to begin with, so I had to reduce the height by 50% then build up a wall of slate around the base to add structure and eventually planted the area with Erica darlyensis.It is important to use alkaline friendly heathers like Erica darlyensis rather than Erica carnea which are acid loving plants. 

AUG2011 (5)Heather Hill has now become one of the more successful areas of the garden this year after much trauma in trying to plant appropriately to cope with the severe climatic conditions we endure due to being on high ground. Finding the solution to this problem involved much research as highlighted by my previous blog including soil analysis and liaison with the plant supplier (Kingfisher Nursery – trade only) before purchasing. Now as the months have progressed so has the colour of these wonderful plants which have now been flowering for well over 7 weeks already and for those that were wondering it took 600 plants in total, I under-estimated by 300 plants.

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For those working out the cost without labour, materials and plants came to approximately £1700 covering just less than 30 square metres! On the opposite side to the heathers I have planted 2500 Russian snowdrops, Puschkinia scilloides and intend to sow poppy seed in a few weeks’ time.

snowdrop

Walking past this area offers me a feeling of satisfaction especially when just a few days ago I could hear it humming and on closer analysis observed somewhere in the region of 100 bees all collecting pollen from the flowers. To see nature working after human manipulation in my eyes is the true picture of success and given that this area had caused so many complications in the last 2 years I am glad to finally move on.

So with any luck the weather will start to improve and I can start planting out the 1200 plants I have nurtured over the winter months hopefully living up to the expectations of my client since his viewing of my pin-board at ‘PInterest’. Another interesting development is that my client is now in a position to hold events at his garden without embarrassment should he wish to do so and we are hoping to engage with a local events organisation in regards to holding future wedding receptions so as my client can reclaim some sort of income in order to carry on employing a gardener throughout his retirement.

If you are in the Hertfordshire area and feel that The Lone Gardener could be of benefit to your garden please do not hesitate to contact me directly via thelonegardener@hotmail.com

Many thanks for your time, Paul, AKA The Lone Gardener

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About The Lone Gardener

About me, well so much i could tell you ??? I am now in my late 30's having had up to now an interested and varied life. Started out my working life as a chef immediately after finishing school in 1990. This gave the opportunity to travel extensively between the ages of 19-30, working in a variety of european countries. A long period was spent in the Canary islands, Tenerife where I worked as a waiter in a golf resort. I have also lived in Spain, France, Switzerland, Scotland, and driven the width of America twice. This was my most memorable experience journeying from Orlando across Interstate-10 to San Diego, up Route 1 to San Francisco and then across to Death Valley, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, through Little Rock and then back to Orlando via New Orleans. The whole journey (7500 miles) took 3 weeks and gave me the opportunity to achieve many dreams, watching the sun come up at the Grand Canyon was the best !!! (Will write a blog at a later date ??) I have now settled for a while to prepare for my future which has involved a total career change. I work as a self-employed gardener having set up my business 2 years ago in the height of recession. I recently finished college attaining an RHS Level II Certificate in Horticulture and have to be honest I have finally found something to do in life which is a passion rather than a chore. I have slowly built up my clientele and look after approx 15 small gardens, 2 commercial sites, and a 2 acre garden. I am really enjoying my work at the moment and encourage anyone who is not happy in their job to consider a change into the world of horticulture. The big plan is to eventually move to Spain or Portugal (ten years time) and continue working in a climate that is more akin to my sensitivity... I HATE THE COLD! I am also very interested in Buddhism, having read Bhagavad Gita. If you want to understand life you have to understand yourself and this book amongst others, helped me immensely in discovering that spiritual pleasure is much more satisfying than material gain, and it also gave me the insight necessary to make decisions about what is important. I have also done a course on Kundalini Yoga, which is a yoga designed to help the energy flow through the body and remove any blockages in the chakras. So here you see some of my main influences and these are some of the topics that i will be discussing and sharing on my blog site. I invite you to share and comment on any of my posts, sensible, intelligent advice is always warmly received. Thanks for your time, Love and happiness TLG
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